Regardless of the copious amount of sleep I had gotten the night before, the 6 am meeting time to leave Beijing was a brutal one. But, the excitement of taking a bullet train made the lethargy worth it. I was amazed by the speed, fluidity, and comfort of the train (not so much by the approx. $5 macadamia nut Haagen-Dazs I accidentally ordered). 5 hours later we arrived in Xi’an!
Xi’an was not at all what I had imagined. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but after hearing so much about the rich history of the area I certainly wasn’t expecting the modern cityscape that greeted us on the way to the hotel. The hotel itself also was a pleasant surprise; it was complete with a swimming pool, tennis courts, and very (very) large stone Chinese stone carvings.
We then headed to the drum tower in Xi’an. A beautiful structure done up in the regular red and golden style, historically housed drums to signal Xi’an’s natives. We then went to a famous dumpling restaurant where we were served 16 courses of dumplings!
After dinner, we went for a walk down the Muslim streets. A bustling area of street food, lit signs, and souvenirs, it left a lot for the eye to explore. Later that night, I returned to the shopping center surrounding the drum tower. The drum tower, and even the surrounding shopping center, were beautifully lit up in the nighttime. After shopping around for a while and eating some (more) ice cream, my day came to a close. A nice end to a beautiful day!